Both Republican Dan Satterberg and Democrat Bill Sherman have reputations for being nice guys, and so I was taken aback when I hosted the two King County Prosecuting Attorney candidates on the Dave Ross Show last week, when Satterberg went on the attack right out of the gate. Satterberg is clearly the status quo candidate… the acting Prosecuting Attorney… the entrenched bureaucrat with 17 years as chief of staff in an office controlled by Republicans for over a half century… the guy supported by those with the most at stake in making sure things don’t much change at the PAO. He’s also the candidate with by far the most money. And so while the office is technically open, I’ve always thought of Satterberg as the pseudo-incumbent, and Sherman as the challenger.
But that’s not the way things played out on the air. Satterberg attacked Sherman personally, risking his nice guy image in what appeared to be an attempt to shake up the dynamics of the race. Incumbents aren’t supposed to do that, and so it had me wondering if Satterberg knew something about the state of the race that I didn’t?
Well if his internal polling numbers are anything close to those of Sherman, the answer is a resounding “yes,” and it sure would explain Satterberg’s aggressive (dare I say, partisan) line of attack. In a Sept. 18-20 survey of 1000 likely voters conducted on behalf of the Sherman campaign, Sherman led Satterberg by a significant 47% to 35% margin, with 18% still undecided. Sherman’s margin came from Seattle/North King County, where he led 55% to 24%; the two were virtually tied in East and South King County. The poll had a margin of error of 3%.
Of course, it’s just a poll, and six weeks out at that, and thus the only thing it really tells us for sure is that contrary to some of the early conventional wisdom, Sherman has a damn good chance of winning… if he can get his message out and successfully fend off Satterberg’s increasingly negative attacks. And that’s an awfully big “if” considering Satterberg’s inherent money advantage. Satterberg has already raised over $230,000 — over $100,000 more than Sherman — and unlike Sherman, he didn’t have to spend his war chest in a contested primary. That’s gonna buy an awful lot of direct mail pieces slamming Sherman and his qualifications, and the money keeps pouring in. There are a lot of very wealth folks with a vested interested in maintaining the status quo in the PAO, and they’re willing to do what it takes to help their guy win.
Are we willing to do the same? I’m betting yes.
And so I am proud to kick off WA’s first ever netroots fund drive for a local candidate, setting a target of $5,000 and 200 new contributors over the next five days. That’s somewhat less than the $100,000 target we set for Darcy Burner’s successful national fund drive, but actually quite a bit more ambitious considering the much smaller size of our local audience.
The goal is not simply to give the Sherman campaign a quick influx of cash, it is to prove to the traditional donor community that Sherman has the kind of broad, grassroots support necessary to win in November, thus spurring additional contributions across the board. It is also another opportunity to send a message to the political and media establishment that the netroots represent a growing progressive movement that is increasingly becoming a direct player in state and local politics that cannot be dismissed or ignored.
Back in August, we made history, focusing national resources on a congressional race in a way that had never been done before. We didn’t just raise $125,000 for Darcy Burner, we knocked Rodney Tom out of the primary, changing the dynamics of the 8th CD race.
Now we have the opportunity to achieve the same sort of impact in the King County Prosecutor’s race, that we did in the 8th CD, by giving Sherman the financial edge he needs to put him over the top in November.
So please go to Bill Sherman’s netroots fundraising page and give whatever you can — if it’s only ten bucks that’s ten bucks more than he had before — if you can afford to give more, please give more. (Or even if you can’t afford it… hell, I just chipped in $100 I don’t have.) A thermometer has been posted to Sherman’s home page tracking our progress, and the campaign will provide me with frequent reports.
The only way Republicans can win this race is by dramatically outspending us. Don’t let that happen. Please give to Bill Sherman, and help elect our first Democratic Prosecuting Attorney in over sixty years.